Our Father who art in heaven, I am drunk. Again. Red wine. For which I offer thanks. I ought to start with praise, but praise comes hard to me. I stutter. Did I tell you about the woman, whom I taught, in bed, this prayer? It starts with praise; the simple form keeps things in order. I hear from her sometimes. Do you? And after love, when I was hungry, I said, Make me something to eat. She yelled, Poof! You're a casserole! - and laughed so hard she fell out of bed. Take care of her.
Next, confession - the dreary part. At night deer drift from the dark woods and eat my garden. They're like enormous rats on stilts except, of course, they're beautiful. But why? What makes them beautiful? I haven't shot one yet. I might. When I was twelve I'd ride my bike out to the dump and shoot the rats. It's hard to kill your rats, our Father. You have to use a hollow point and hit them solidly. A leg is not enough. The rat won't pause. Yeep! Yeep! it screams, and scrabbles, three-legged, back into the trash, and I would feel a little bad to kill something that wants to live more savagely than I do, even if it's just a rat. My garden's vanishing. Perhaps I'll plant more beans, though that might mean more beautiful and hungry deer. Who knows? I'm sorry for the times I've driven home past a black, enormous, twilight ridge. Crested with mist it looked like a giant wave about to break and sweep across the valley, and in my loneliness and fear I've thought, O let it come and wash the whole world clean. Forgive me. This is my favorite sin: despair- whose love I celebrate with wine and prayer.
Our Father, thank you for all the birds and trees, that nature stuff. I'm grateful for good health, food, air, some laughs, and all the other things I've never had to do without. I have confused myself. I'm glad there's not a rattrap large enough for deer. While at the zoo last week, I sat and wept when I saw one elephant insert his trunk into another's ass, pull out a lump, and whip it back and forth impatiently to free the goodies hidden in the lump. I could have let it mean most anything, but I was stunned again at just how little we ask for in our lives. Don't look! Don't look! Two young nuns tried to herd their giggling schoolkids away. Line up, they called, Let's go and watch the monkeys in the monkey house. I laughed and got a dirty look. Dear Lord, we lurch from metaphor to metaphor, which is -let it be so- a form of praying.
I'm usually asleep by now -the time for supplication. Requests. As if I'd stayed up late and called the radio and asked they play a sentimental song. Embarrassed. I want a lot of money and a woman. And, also, I want vanishing cream. You know- a character like Popeye rubs it on and disappears. Although you see right through him, he's there. He chuckles, stumbles into things, and smoke that's clearly visible escapes from his invisible pipe. It make me think, sometimes, of you. What makes me think of me is the poor jerk who wanders out on air and then looks down. Below his feet, he sees eternity, and suddenly his shoes no longer work on nothingness, and down he goes. As I fall past, remember me.